Beginner’s guide to social media for small business

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Small businesses are just recently starting to jump on the social media bandwagon. Social media can be an effective way to increase customer leads and traffic to your site, but only if done properly. According to a survey by the Business Network International, they found that 75% of business owners have been “put-off” by a company, due to poor social media usage. This shows how important it is to research the proper way to use social media for your company.   Between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin, this can be far from an easy task. Should you be on all networks, or just one? Do you have time to post as often as you would like? Do you know the best way to reach your target audience? Here are a few tips to successfully start building a social media presence:


1) Make a personal account on the social media sites before creating a business one.

 

Each social media site has a very different “culture.” Facebook is personal, Linkedin is focused on business, Pinterest is completely visual and Twitter is a fancy caption contest with hash-tags. There is no way to fully understand how to post on these different sites unless you create an account and start playing around.

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is not understanding the different social platforms before they begin posting. After creating your personal account, be sure to follow businesses similar to your own to get ideas for how the site works. See what posts you like and which ones you don’t. By creating a personal account, you will quickly learn the dos and don’ts of that site, giving you the ability manage your business’s account much more effectively.

 

2) Know your audience.

Before you even write the description of your company on your social network, you need to know exactly who you are talking to. Understanding your customer is key in order to post content that they will find and appreciate.  Here are a few questions that you should answer:

  • How old are they? (list all demographics including gender, location, age)
  • What social media platforms do they use? (If you have the time and resources it will not hurt to be on all of them)
  • What times of the day are they going to be on social media? (When do they get off from work? Are they up late at night?)
  • Do they have children or pets?

By answering these questions you can begin to get an idea of what type of content you will need to produce on your social networks in order to reach your target audience. People will not follow you on social media unless you are producing information that they find valuable.

 

3) Consistency and frequency

Many times small businesses think that by creating social networks, they will magically have followers. This is far from the truth. You can’t post once a week and expect to gain followers. Depending on the social network you should actually be posting at least 1 to 15 times a day. Although this is a big commitment, it is the only way that you will actually begin to see growth.

 

4) Take social media out in the real world

If you have a small business, you probably spend a lot of time meeting with people and networking. Don’t be afraid to ask people to follow you on Twitter after they buy something at your store, or to put your company’s Facebook URL on your business card. Building a social media following can be tough at first, but asking your real life friends and customers to support you can be one of the easiest ways to gain new followers.

 

Social media is a trial and error process. Every post you make may not get hundreds of likes or re-tweets  but you won’t get any feedback unless you get on your social networks and start posting. Managing your social media is a full time job, which is why some people look into hiring a company to manage their accounts. If you would like someone to help you manage your social networks contact Social Jeanie to see how we can help you build your online following.

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3 Comments

  1. Matthew July 9, 2013

    Yes, social media marketing is more effective to increase traffic and it should be done properly. I read your article and agree with what you says.

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